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May 22, 2003

It's the economy, stupid. How often do we have to keep saying this? People care about their own lives and welfare and no trumped-up war on a tiny country far away is likely to be of more importance to them than the odds of them still being employed in six months.

MSNBC's on-poll is the usual shoddy job. (I've mentioned before how bogus it is that they offer different questions on their website and then pretend to be comparing apples and apples between it and the offline poll.) They don't offer a choice that says that tax cuts won't help the economy at all. I voted anyhow. (And it looks like, gimmicky, right-wing extremist columnists aside, much of their readership is liberal. Bush wound up with a 32 percent approval rating and 70 percent disapprove of how he's handling the economy, the #1 issue of concern for 55 percent of those polled.)

And I don't approve of a lot of McCain's politics, but I sent him a message and I think you should, too. I think he's popular enough, and powerful enough, and concerned enough about freedom in this country to be an ally in the fight against the media consolidation move.

Is the internet already dying? And are those Evil Corporations to blame? If they make it illegal for you to use your phone line to dial into the net, are you going to give a sh*t? I wouldn't. I pay for the blasted phone line, okay? If I want to use it to power wind-up toys dancing the macarena around my living room, I will.

Another good reason to get Constitution-loving liberals back in power. Are there any?

And another thing, while I'm on the ragged edge of a tear and laying down the law to everyone, please give a little thought to candidates outside the Presidential arena, okay?

A liberal President is going to need liberals in Congress to help him salvage our country. And a few more liberals as governors and as state representatives would be useful, too.

(Me, I think the Democrats might take back Texas. Texans love a rebel and the Democrats who recently made news by standing up for a principle in defiance of "the establishment" need to keep themselves, and their rebellious acts, on the front page of Texas news between now and re-election time. Texas voters might just fall in love.)

I like Kevin Drum and always enjoy his posts, but sometimes he, and the other really smart and informed bloggers and pundits, don't know what they're talking about (althoughsome of the people who live in the comments section seem to understand).

The ignorance of Americans about the real world never ceases to amaze me. Ask them what percent of the population is black and they guess it's about a third. Ask them how much they pay in income taxes, and they figure about 50%. Ask them how big the foreign aid budget is and they're off by a factor of 24.
If you're going to run a poll, you have to ask the right questions, okay?

Overly informed people should never write polling questions. They never manage to ask questions in a way that elicits accurate answers. Experts should find an "average citizen" and explain matters to them. And then let that person write the polling questions, because that person understands both the mindset of those being polled and the issues being questioned.

I explained it to my boss this way when we were discussing an installation and user manual for our new product. You want a stupid person to write these, not an expert. A stupid person explains things in the way a stupid user/person is going to understand. I won the argument and I wrote the manuals. (In retrospect, I'm not sure I'm flattered at how easily my characterization of me as a stupid person was accepted, but that's another rant.)

I mean, of course most people figure they pay about 50% in taxes. What's hard to understand about that?

It's always been a mystery to me how the experts can not understand that, to the average citizen, the chunk taken out of their paycheck is "taxes."

There's federal taxes, state taxes, and a bunch of weird acronyms like FICA and others. And people don't stop to mentally subtract their health insurance deductions, okay? So someone paying to insure themselves and a couple of dependents is getting nicked for a substantial chunk right there.

I'd be massively surprised if the bite taken out of that bi-weekly paycheck wasn't right around 50% by the time you add all of that together. That's "taxes." It doesn't matter to most wage-earners what the bits break out as, all they know is that that's the money they earn that they don't get to keep.

As for the foreign aid budget, the confusion there is a combination of what people assume such a rich, powerful country pays and the lies Republicans tell about how we're beggaring ourselves to provide people in other countries with soft lives.

Part of the problem with "Washington" and even "the media" not understanding people is that once they've immersed themselves in the culture of D.C. for a while, they're completely unable to see what Washington looks like in the left four-fifths of the country.

New rant.

Electronic voting machines. I used one at the last local election, and I'm going back to "absentee" balloting so that I can fill out a piece of paper. (How to make sure those ballots actually get counted is another problem.

Heh. Heh.

I could become a major sports fan. A major sports fan.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:44 AM